Reflections PDF Print E-mail

Is the parikrama becoming a blind faith? Is the difficulty in the parikrama the reason for it being so exclusive, so life changing? The parikrama now can be completed in various segments. It is not necessary to do it in a stretch. There must be a strong drive amongst the people to complete this once started.

From our observations, we have noticed that the philosophy and the behaviour of the people here are inter-linked. The river’s culture as noticed today is a result of the beliefs that have been around for generations, but again, culture is not a total reality and is in constant evolution. Culture is always subject to change, be it near the river Narmada or someplace else.

The feeling that is prevalent around the river gives rise to an air of self-satisfaction for the people who reside there as well as for visitors. It was interesting to observe and note that these people show behaviour that is is self-rewarding and self-sustainable. Most human behaviour is said to revolve around the following three aspects:

  1. Value: The why, how and to what degree humans should value things, whether the thing is a person, object or anything else.
  2. Motivation :
  • Intrinsic: This refers to the motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure.
  • Extrinsic: This comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards like money, grades, coercion and threat of punishment.
  1. Capabilities: The ability to perform human actions.

It was noticed that the people living around the River Narmada have instilled within them specific qualities that are prevalent only to this region such as selflessness. When on a ‘Parikrama’, the ‘Parikramwasis’ start their journey without any prior thoughts about food, safety or shelter. This is because it is a common belief which is reassured by repetitive behaviour that people around the River Narmada are vary of the needs of the visitors and do everything in their power to cater to those needs.

It is the value of the people residing to be helpful and selfless to the Parikramvasis. This value has both intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation. Intrinsic, so as to uphold an individual’s personal beliefs about their own values and extrinsic in a way such that, the feedback from the Parikramvasis to the w world about the Narmada is positive in all senses. (The positive feeling around the river, the goodness of the people, the serenity one endures during the process of the Parikrama.)

These intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation help uphold the values of the people of the river which determines the environment and therein its culture.

This created culture which is constantly in the process of evolution has an impact on the psyche of the Parikramvasis. This is the value of the people of the Narmada, to serve its visitors in all their glory. The motivation for living up to this value comes from the positive feedback from the ‘Parikramwasis’ about the residents of the river being giving, extremely self-less and helpful. This causes the Parikramwasis to return to the river many a times. It is noticed that they tend to become more positive as opposed to their behaviour before the Parikrama. This positivity in turn could be an explanation for the Parikramvasis ‘doing well’ in their lives after the Parikrama as compared to their life before the Parikrama.

Away from the worldly concept of progress, inequality, status, classes – during the parikrama every individual is said to be the same. Every person comes there to take back something from the river. They are all tied by that bond of inadequacy, the bond of extraction. There is no show of wealth, none of prestige. Every person is bounded by the fear of the forests and by the grace of the river. Maybe, this is the reason for people’s change in behaviour after a parikrama. Maybe being in touch with humility causes them to see people and situations with a new perspective as nature teaches us to learn by ourselves. Just like the trees that stand alone, do their duty, sometimes wither and sometimes blossom, the rivers teach us to embrace what we have. Just like the river, that has been flowing for centuries together and is still giving, we too must learn to share. The purpose of this parikrama is to get in touch with all these feelings of humanity – of rediscovering the simplicity that man was originally born and bestowed with – when man was closest to the force that created him. Or was the purpose to be able to ask for wishes and live in the hope that they will be granted and fulfilled? There is a duality in everything and it is quite strange to think that the parikramawasis are all supremely altruistic in nature. There is something in it for them.

Some of the members of the group were inspired to do the parikrama. But some part of the spiritual belief we were unable to fathom. How can someone’s faith be measured and then imbibed in us too? We understood the importance of the river, the feelings in generated in the people. The experience of the parikrama and such a regard for the river, we yet had to experience.

Do contact us for more details of the parikrama. We can also help you to meet some people who have completed the parikrama.


“A man in love with his environment is the happiest man in the universe.”